A Few Important Things ALT Taught Me

January 31, 2013

I finally have had some time to process my ALT experience. I know a lot of people have been waiting and wanting to hear everything about it, but i'm just going to stick to a few things I think are some of the most important things I have learned from attending. Things I think will be relevant for you as well.

You are a content creator: As a blogger our first and formost responsibility it to create content.  

Numbers aren't everything: This goes hand in hand with being a content creator. It's more important to focus on producing great content. If all you are worried about are numbers your content is probably suffering. 

Work/Life Balance: A quote from Patti Smith sums this one up.

"In art and dream may you proceed with abandon. In life may you proceed with balance and stealth."

Practice Seeing: Karen Walrond spoke on finding your voice. One of the ways she mentioned doing this is by practicing seeing. She said, "Nothing makes you stop and see like a camera in your hand."

Set Golden Hours: Golden hours are a time of day when you are at your best. Save those golden hours for work that makes you feel productive. 

Learn to Say "no": I've heard this before. It's something I struggle with so I have to constantly keep reminding myself that saying "no" is even an option. 

Here are some good questions to ask yourself before you say yes or no.
Do you want to do the project?
Do you have time?
Can this project afford to hire you at a rate you can afford to work at?

I love watercolor: On the last day at the conference there were workshops for you to attend. I chose the watercolor class taught by the amazing and tallented Lana. It was the very last thing I did before heading back home. This might sound silly, but the watercolor class was my favorite thing I did. Yes, I loved it more than the classes, more than the yummy food, and even more than the parties. These things were all spectacular. You know how Disney parks have everything so well put together down to the very last detail? Well Alt was pretty much the same way. There were letterpressed menus, tons of decorations and the clue party was the most elaborate thing I have ever seen. It was Disney perfect. Something about the watercolor class though really resonated with me. Maybe because it was the first time all weekend where there was peace and quite. Or the the fact that I didn't have to introduce myself to anyone new for a whole 2 hours. Or maybe it was simply because I was full to the brim with knowledge and my brain was ready to take a break and create something. There were only about fifteen of us in the class so it felt like we were just a bunch of girlfriends hanging out and having fun. It was exactly what I needed and the perfect way to end the weekend. This class also made me realize I need to take time for more moments like this. 

I hate the cold: I knew I wasn't the biggest fan of cold weather, but Salt Lake City was just brutal.  I think I'll stick to Southern California. 

DIY Dog Scarf

January 30, 2013

you will need:
  • yarn in two colors
  • number 8 knitting needles
  • scissors
  • yarn needle

If you don't know how to knit, check out the Howcast for helpful videos on how to knit.

STEP 1: Cast on an even number of stitches. I did 20 stitches. You can do more or less depending on the size of your dog. Using a Rib 2x2 stitch (knit 2, purl 2), knit a long rectangle the length you need to fit loosely around your dog's neck plus about 7 extra inches to make the loop the pom pom will go through. Do as many fittings as you need to get it right.

STEP 2: Once you have finished the length of the scarf, bind off your stitches. Then take one of the ends and fold it over to make a loop the pom pom will go through. My loop ended up being about 3 1/2" folded in half. You can make it bigger or smaller if need be. Just make sure your pom pom will fit through it. Next, thread your yarn needle and sew the end of the loop.

STEP 3: Now make your pom pom using the second color of yarn. If you don't have a pom pom maker you can use your hand to make one. Here is a easy to follow tutorial on how to make a pom pom.

STEP 4: Sew your pom pom to the end without the loop with your yarn needle. And that's it!

Take your dog on a walk so he can try it out!

For the Taking: Mini Valentines

January 29, 2013

Valentine's Day is almost here. Last year I designed these mini cards and posted them on our blog. Our blog has grown a lot since then so I thought I would re-post them for those of you who might not have seen them before. Spread the love around this Valentine's Day by sending sweet notes to a friend in these mini cards. One reader last year even suggested including one of these cards with some cupcakes. Now wouldn't that be cute?

Please read the Conditions of Use before downloading files from A Pair of Pears.

Recovering from ALT: Be Back Tomorrow

January 28, 2013

Whew! I made it back from ALT SLC. It was quite an experience. I had fun, learned lots, and met a ton of awesome bloggers. As I'm sure you can image this all resulted in pure exhaustion. I'm still recovering from the trip and can't wait to tell you all about it. Before I get into all the nitty-gritty, I'm taking a little break today just to breathe. I hope you don't mind.

In Motion: Animation Exercise

January 25, 2013

Lately I've been seeing a lot of amazingly designed 2D animations on the internet. It's been very inspiring to me and made me want to get better at what I love doing. So as an ongoing exercise to come up with new ideas and to just become a better animator, I've decided to use any down time I have to create short original animations. I'll be uploading each animation to my Vimeo account, where hopefully you'll be able to see my creative ability start to grow. Here are the first two experiments I've created:

New in the Shop: Socks & Sweaters

January 24, 2013

We've got an exciting new card in the shop just in time for Valentine's Day, or just for someone special in your life. You can buy an individual card, or a set of 5.

What's in my Bag: ALT Essentials

January 23, 2013

I'm packed and ready to leave this afternoon for ALT Summit! I tried to pack as light as I could for this trip. No checked luggage for me please. Just a carry-on and cross-body bag filled with the essentials that I will carry with me throughout the conference. I hate carrying around a lot of stuff so I picked a few things I think will come in handy--and there is still room left over for all the goodies I hear they give out at ALT. 

Scarf: I hate being cold and I hear SLC is brutal. No goose bumps distracting me during the conference.

Moleskine: For taking lots of good notes and doodling from time to time

Writing Utensils: Bringing a few extra just in case a new friend needs one

Chapstick: No sore cracking lips here

Snacks: Just in case

Business Cards: lots and lots of business cards

Promo Postcards: A little more info never hurt anyone

Iphone: phone/camera/internet all in one

Jake will probably be popping in here a little while I'm gone. Be sure to follow me on Instagram and our facebook page for updates throughout the conference. 

Promotional Postcard Infographic

January 22, 2013

Last weekend I decided at the last minute to design some kind of promotional material to hand out at ALT. I wanted to have something other than just a business card. Something that told a little more about us and what we do. I decided to do an infographic style postcard. Jake and I came up with the fun facts we wanted to share and this is how it turned out. I wasn't sure it was going to finish printing in time for ALT but thankfully yesterday we were able to pick it up from the printer. I love how they turned out and I can't wait to start handing them out tomorrow!

Finders Keepers: The Fauxmartha

January 18, 2013

This find is a little different then the usual Finders Keepers posts. Have you ever heard of The Fauxmartha? Melissa is an amazing tallented graphic designer and food enthusiast that just so happens to have the same alma mater as Jake and I! I recognized her profile picture on the Alt Summit facebook group and contacted her right away. How cool is it that we both are graphic designers, bloggers and JBU alumni attending ALT? Small world!

Her blog is filled with great recipes, helpful tips, and scrumptious food photography. You've got to go check it out. Let me warn you ahead of time though, it's probably going to give you the appetite of a bear waking up from a long winter of hibernation. Yep, the food looks that good!


January 17, 2013

Yesterday I mentioned how I get together every week with other creative small business owners. Those same women (including myself) are putting together an event called Shop/Social. It will be a fabulous night of tasty treats and finely crafted goods. People can come to socialize and shop. And to add to the fun we are each donating something for a raffle (let me just say I wish I could win these prizes) as well as other activities.

So who's going to be there?

A Pair of Pears
rql designs
StephVillaDavis photograph
Cheli Jewelry

We would love for you to stop by if you're in the Los Angeles area. And of course I would love to meet you. If you're planning on coming please head over to facebook and join our event or leave a comment below.

Decorate Your Desktop: 01

January 16, 2013

Click below to download

Desktop  |  iPhone  |  iPhone5  |  Android

Every week I get together with three other friends who are also creative small business owners like myself. Each week I walk away more inspired and encouraged than the last. These women are amazing.

A few weeks ago one of them told me this quote from Jon Acuff, "Don't compare your beginning to someones else's middle." Those words really hit home for me. Comparing yourself to others is a dangerous trap that can really leave you frustrated and discouraged. I to easily find myself looking at other blogs or small businesses and wonder how they got to be so successful and then ask myself why I am not where they are. When in reality they have probably been working at it longer and who knows what else they had to do to get where they are. I'm are still at the beginning of my entrepreneur journey. I have a lot of growing and work to do.

So as I prepare to go to ALT Summit in just one week, I thought it would be a helpful reminder to have this quote on my phone (nicely designed of course). So that as I talk to all the amazing, creative people I can remember not to get caught up in comparing myself, but instead enjoy their company and learn what I can from them, because after all they have been at this a lot longer than I have.

I hope this quote is encouraging to you too!

Watch me Grow: 35 Weeks

January 15, 2013

He just keeps on growing. He's got to stop at some point right? We weighed him just the other day and he's 56 pounds! What a chunk. We are supposed to start decreasing his food intake today. I have a feeling he isn't going to be to happy about it. 

New in the Shop: Travel Postcards

January 14, 2013

We are finally adding new items to our shop. I'm particularly excited about these Travel Postcards. They turned out just how I imagined! I was inspired to make these postcards when I inherited a bunch of old photos from my grandfather. I cherish every single one. The mountain photo was one of the ones taken by my grandfather. The other two Jake and I snapped while visting Long Beach and New York City.

The postcards come in a set of 3 or 6. They are perfect for sending quick notes to friends. Or keep them for yourself to hang on the wall. You can find the Travel Postcards in our shop.

Finders Keepers: Mi Goals Book

January 11, 2013

One of the of the best ways to accomplish goals it to write them down. I came across this book that helps you do just that! Mi Goals even has inspirational quotes throughout the book to inspire you. It doesn't hurt that they are well designed either.

Getting Ready for ALT Summit SLC

January 9, 2013

I still can't believe I'm going to ALT and in exactly two weeks! I still have lots to do to get ready for it.

I was chatting with a blogger who is one of the speakers at ALT and she described the conference as Project Runway meets HGTV. At first I kind of panicked and wanted to immediately race out and buy a whole new wardrobe for the conference. I expressed my concerns to a friend and she reminded me that most importantly I just need to be myself. So instead of revamping my entire closet, I decided to just pick up a few new things to jazz up the clothes I already have.

1: This statement necklace added to any outfit should do the trick.
2: Loving stripes lately. The perfect bag to carry around a few necessities.
3: A blazer to instantly dress up any outfit and a little extra warmth for chilly SLC.

Now that I have the Project Runway part down I need to more importantly focus on the real reason I'm attending: to make new friends, learn from the vetrans and show the blogging world what I have to offer. To do that I need to:

1: Re-stock and design new products for our shop.
2: Print more business cards. I'm thinking yellow edge painting would be a nice touch.
3: A fresh moleskine to take lots of notes to share with you when I get back.

Time is ticking. I better get moving.

2012 Bartlett Christmas Card

January 8, 2013


One thing I look forward to every year is designing our Christmas card. This year we wanted to keep it pretty simple and clean, so we designed a one color letterpressed card and included a family photo all tied nicely with string.

2013 Printable Calendar for Emma Magazine

January 7, 2013

We're back! Thanks for your understanding and patience as we took a little break from the blog to enjoy our family this holiday season. You guys truly are the best!

I thought it would be great to start off 2013 with a printable calendar for you! I teamed up with Emma Magazine for their January issue. Think Martha for 20-somethings. Their magazine is lot of fun. I was so excited to be a part of it. 

I really love how this design turned out. You can get the download over at Emma Magazine. I hope you like it!

Relax This Year

January 2, 2013

Black and Type Shop
We still have few more days to enjoy with our family before heading home. I've been tying to enjoy every minute, but sometimes I can't help but stress over the list of things I need to get done that are just waiting for me as soon as I get home. Like this blog for instance. I haven't been posting much. I worry that every day I don't post I missing an opportunity to better our blog. Like I'm falling behind in the blogging community. Or that I'm disappointing our readers. The ALT Summit conference is right around the corner and I still have lots to do to prepare for that too. Then I remember that the whole reason I wanted to quit my day job was so that I can do what makes me happy, not stress and worry.

I didn't make any resolutions this year, but I have decided that this year is going to be better than the last. I'm going to slow down, enjoy the process and not stress about a million and one things. After all stressing never helps anything, right? Let's relax this year!